Add These Foods To Lower Ldl Cholesterol
Different foods lower cholesterol in various ways. Some deliver soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and drags them out of the body before they get into circulation. Some give you polyunsaturated fats, which directly lower LDL. And some contain plant sterols and stanols, which block the body from absorbing cholesterol.
1. Oats. An easy first step to lowering your cholesterol is having a bowl of oatmeal or cold oat-based cereal like Cheerios for breakfast. It gives you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. Add a banana or some strawberries for another half-gram. Current nutrition guidelines recommend getting 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day, with at least 5 to 10 grams coming from soluble fiber.
2. Barley and other whole grains. Like oats and oat bran, barley and other whole grains can help lower the risk of heart disease, mainly via the soluble fiber they deliver.
3. Beans. Beans are especially rich in soluble fiber. They also take a while for the body to digest, meaning you feel full for longer after a meal. That’s one reason beans are a useful food for folks trying to lose weight. With so many choices from navy and kidney beans to lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas, and beyond and so many ways to prepare them, beans are a very versatile food.
4. Eggplant and okra. These two low-calorie vegetables are good sources of soluble fiber.
Change The Way You Eat
One of the contributing factors in the development of high blood cholesterol is a diet high in saturated fat, which is a form of fat typically found in foods that come from animal sources, including beef, pork, poultry, and dairy products like cheese and milk. Saturated fat can also be found in processed food and snacks like chips, cookies, and doughnuts.
To cut out saturated fat and eat in a way that will help lower your LDL cholesterol levels, switch to a plant-based diet filled with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The Mediterranean diet is one such plant-based diet thats rich in nutrients and phytochemicals. The diet includes healthy fats such as olive oil and fish, but plant-based foods make up the bulk of each meal. Red meat is limited to no more than a few times a month. This diet originated in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, where theres significantly lower incidence of heart disease.
How Long Does It Take To Reduce Cholesterol
Cholesterol drops over time, not suddenly, after a few days of healthier living. There is no set period in which cholesterol is guaranteed to drop.
Cholesterol-lowering drugs usually produce a change in LDL within 6 to 8 weeks. It is possible for lifestyle changes to change cholesterol levels within weeks. However, it may take longer,
- Total cholesterol: less than 200 milligrams per deciliter
- LDL bad cholesterol: less than 100 mg/dL
- HDL good cholesterol: higher than 60 mg/dL
- Triglycerides: less than 150 mg/dL
According to an article in the journal , the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recommend using statins to lower cholesterol in people with cholesterol higher outside of these levels.
However, they also recommend doctors consider a persons cholesterol levels and overall risk of cardiovascular disease before prescribing a cholesterol-lowering medication.
The AHA recommends that people with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease get high-intensity statin therapy maximally tolerated statin therapy to lower LDL by at least 50%.
The AHA also recommends high-intensity statin therapy for individuals with severe primary hypercholesterolemia .
There are a number of habit changes a person can incorporate into their daily routines in order to gradually and consistently lower their LDL levels over time. Including:
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Medicines To Lower Cholesterol
For some people, making lifestyle changes alone does not their lower cholesterol enough. They may also need to take medicines. There are several types of cholesterol-lowering drugs available. They work in different ways and can have different side effects. Talk to your health care provider about which medicine is right for you.
Even if you take medicines to lower your cholesterol, you still need to continue with lifestyle changes.
Exercise On Most Days
Engaging in moderate exercise can help raise your HDL cholesterol while boosting your overall cardiovascular health. If youre fairly sedentary now, start with small amounts, working your way up to 30 minutes of exercise five times each week. If you prefer more vigorous aerobic exercise, 20 minutes three times a week will suffice.
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Can You Lower Your Cholesterol Without Statins
For those trying to lower high cholesterol, the most used medication is based on statins that specifically treats high LDL. But, many are complaining from statin side effects that are pretty ugly and are looking more and more for alternative and natural ways to lower their LDL.
It is really possible to reduce LDL cholesterol numbers without statin drugs?
It seems that this indeedcan be possible, even though the time required depends on individual health status, dieting habits, level of exercising, genetic heritage and gender.
Women seem to be more prone to suffer from high cholesterol, especially on menopause.
Measuring Blood Cholesterol Levels
When measuring cholesterol levels, doctors will assess four markers in a persons blood:
- Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol: The bad cholesterol. A lower LDL number may be a good indicator of health and lower risk of disease.
- High-density lipoprotein cholesterol: The beneficial cholesterol. Low HDL cholesterol may be a risk factor for other issues, and a higher HDL number may indicate health.
- Blood triglycerides: A common type of fat in the blood. Higher levels may mean that a person has an increased risk of some issues, especially when they also have other risk factors, such as low HDL cholesterol.
- Total cholesterol: This number takes into account the levels of blood triglycerides and LDL and HDL cholesterol.
Doctors will use all of these numbers within the context of a persons overall health and other risk factors to determine their risk of heart disease and stroke.
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Healthy Habits To Reduce Your Cholesterol
Cholesterol is one of those buzz words that has always seemed to carry a negative connotation when it comes to your health. But how bad is it and does it deserve the negative reputation it has received over the years? Let’s take a look.
Cholesterol is a fat-like, waxy substance that your body uses to build cells and make hormones and vitamin D. Cholesterol travels through your body through your bloodstream. You get cholesterol from the foods you eat and your liver, which makes cholesterol.
Your total cholesterol is made up of low-density lipoproteins and high-density lipoproteins . Problems can occur when LDL, or the commonly called “bad cholesterol,” deposits in your arteries causing inflammation and blockages, which can raise your risk for heart attack and stroke. HDL, or the commonly called “good cholesterol,” helps move the bad cholesterol to the liver where it can be cleaned out.
“Cholesterol levels are affected by genes passed down in your family, an accumulation of the foods you eat, and the amount of exercise you get over your lifetime,” says Amber Brown Keebler, MD, internal medicine specialist. Dr. Brown Keebler is also certified in lipidology, the study of fats in your blood and how they can be managed and treated. “Cholesterol is among one of the top risk factors for heart disease and stroke. The more risk factors you have, the higher your risk.”
You can take steps to lower your cholesterol by following these healthy lifestyle habits:
Transport Into The Cell
When a cell requires additional cholesterol , it synthesizes the necessary LDL receptors as well as PCSK9, a proprotein convertase that marks the LDL receptor for degradation. LDL receptors are inserted into the plasma membrane and diffuse freely until they associate with clathrin-coated pits. When LDL receptors bind LDL particles in the bloodstream, the clathrin-coated pits are endocytosed into the cell.
Vesicles containing LDL receptors bound to LDL are delivered to the endosome. In the presence of low pH, such as that found in the endosome, LDL receptors undergo a conformation change, releasing LDL. LDL is then shipped to the lysosome, where cholesterol esters in the LDL are hydrolysed. LDL receptors are typically returned to the plasma membrane, where they repeat this cycle. If LDL receptors bind to PCSK9, however, transport of LDL receptors is redirected to the lysosome, where they are degraded.
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How Do I Know If I Have High Cholesterol
Many Australians don’t know they have high cholesterol, because there are no symptoms. High cholesterol can only be detected through a blood test.
Some people have a condition called familial hypercholesterolaemia where a genetic problem leads to high cholesterol. About one in 500 Australians has this condition and many dont know they have it. If you have a family history of high cholesterol or of heart disease at a young age, ask your doctor about your risk.
Eat Fibre To Lower Cholesterol
Eating high-fibre food can also help to lower your cholesterol. Fibre helps reduce the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed into the blood stream from your intestine.
- Make sure you get at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day as these contain fibre along with other nutrients
- Eat plenty of other high fibre foods like pulses oats and seeds.
- Choose more wholegrain foods when you can, such as brown or granary bread over white.
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Foods Rich In Unsaturated Fats
Cutting down on saturated fat and replace some of it with unsaturated fats is great way to lower your cholesterol. Foods which contain unsaturated fats include:
- vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, corn, rapeseed, nut and seed oils
- avocado, nuts and seeds
- fat spreads made from vegetable oils, such as sunflower and olive oil
- oily fish
Oily fish are a good source of healthy unsaturated fats, specifically a type called omega-3 fats. Aim to eat two portions of fish per week, at least one of which should be oily. A portion is 140g, but you could have two or three smaller portions throughout the week. Tinned, frozen or fresh all count e.g. salmon, sardines, pilchards, trout, herring and mackerel.
Avoid coconut and palm oil as, unlike other vegetable oils, they are high in saturated fat.
How Often Should I Have My Cholesterol Tested
Adults should have their blood lipids measured every 5 years, starting at 45 years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should start lipid blood tests at 35, because on average heart and blood vessel disease such as heart attacks and stroke happen 10 to 20 years earlier in Indigenous people.
All Australians in these age groups are eligible for a regular 20-minute heart health check with their doctor. This checks your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Your doctor can then assess your risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 5 years.
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When Can I Eat Or Drink Again
As soon as your blood is taken, your fast is over. You might want to bring a snack and a drink with you so you can eat as soon as possible after the test.
American Academy for Clinical Chemistry: “Basic Metabolic Panel,” “Comprehensive Metabolic Panel,” “GGT,” “Glucose Tests,” “Iron Tests,” “Lipid Profile,” “Renal Function Panel,” “Vitamin B12 & Folate.”
British National Health Service: “Can I Eat and Drink Before Having a Blood Test?”
Crystal Moore, MD, PhD, FCAP, anatomical and clinical pathologist, Chesapeake, VA.
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: “What Are Blood Tests?”
Nemours Foundation: “Blood Test: Comprehensive Metabolic Panel .”
Providence Laboratory Services : “Fasting Instructions.”
Alcohol And Ldl Levels
Although moderate consumption of alcohol can significantly raise HDL levels, it can also lower LDL, according to studies. Moderate consumption means one serving a day for women and one to two servings per day for men.
However, drinking more alcohol doesnt necessarily equal better results in terms of improving your heart health. Studies have also indicated that drinking more than three alcoholic drinks a day could actually increase your chances of heart disease.
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Will Stopping Smoking Lower My Cholesterol
If you’re a smoker you might already know you should stop if you have high cholesterol. Smoking increases bad cholesterol and lowers good cholesterol, increasing your risk of heart attacks and stroke.
- If youre struggling to stop smoking, talking to your GP is a great first step, or if youre in England you can call the NHS Stop Smoking Service on 0300 123 1044.
- There are also free services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
These services will be able to give you useful advice on how to deal with cravings and gradually stop smoking.
Find out more about what smoking does to your body.
Did You Know That You Can Lower Cholesterol Naturally
If you and your doctor have decided that you need to lower your cholesterol based on your ASCVD risk factors, then you should know that there are many tools at your disposal for doing so!
We reviewed them over at this article we wrote which was just published in RUPA Health’s magazine.
In this articlewe cover
What is cholesterol?
Why is cholesterol important?
What types of cholesterol are good and bad?
What are the natural ways foods, herbs and lifestyle approaches can be used to lower cholesterol?
Some excerpts from the article
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Replace Saturated Fats With Healthier Fats
Replacing foods that contain mainly saturated fats with foods that contain unsaturated fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats will help reduce your cholesterol level.
For example, instead of butter and cream in cooking, use olive oil, nut butters or avocado.
Healthy unsaturated fats are found in:
- oily fish
- fruits and vegetables
Foods With Added Sterols And Stanols
Sterols and stanols are plant chemicals which are a similar size and shape to cholesterol. They are absorbed from the intestines into the blood stream and block some cholesterol from being absorbed, lowering the cholesterol in your blood.
We get a small amount of sterols from plant-based foods such as vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, but its not enough to lower cholesterol. So, food companies have developed foods with plant sterols or stanols added to them, such as mini yogurt drinks, fat spreads, milk and yogurts.
These fortified foods lower your cholesterol gradually, over a few weeks, and how much depends on the amount you eat. Some experts believe they are the most effective single food for lowering cholesterol.
Who should eat foods with sterols and stanols added?
Sterols and stanols have been thoroughly researched, so they can be added to foods and are safe to eat.
They are suitable for:
- People with high cholesterol theres no real benefit if you dont have high cholesterol.
- Children with inherited high cholesterol such as familial hypercholesterolaemia with support from a doctor or dietitian.
- People taking statins sterols and stanols will help to lower your cholesterol further because they work in a different way to the statin.
They are not suitable for:
Aim for: one to three servings of fortified foods a day. This will give you 1.5 to 3g of stanols and sterols.
Three servings of: OR
- 1 glass of milk
One product a day:
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Should I Stop Drinking If I Have High Cholesterol
Cutting down on alcohol will help your liver to work better at removing bad cholesterol. It may also improve your heart health in other ways by helping you lose weight and lower your blood pressure.
Our top tips for drinking alcohol are to:
- drink less than 14 units of alcohol a week
- have a few days each week where you dont drink at all
- avoid binge drinking by drinking half what you usually would
- order a small glass of wine or half a pint of beer.
Read more of our advice on alcohol.By making some of these small changes you should see your cholesterol levels go down.
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Best drinks to improve cholesterol
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How To Lower High Ldl Cholesterol
Your doctor will set up a plan of lifestyle changes and/or medication that can lower your cholesterol levels and your overall odds of a heart problem. Your plan might include:
- A healthy diet. Try not to eat things that are high in saturated fat, cholesterol, or simple carbs such as sugar and white flour. Eat more fiber and plant sterols such as margarine or nuts.
- Regular exercise. The kind that gets your heart pumping is best.
- Weight loss. Losing even 5 to 10 pounds can improve your cholesterol levels.
- Quitting tobacco. If you have a hard time giving up smoking, your doctor can help you find the program thatâs best for you.
- Medication. Some drugs, like statins, help keep your body from making cholesterol. Another, ezetimibe , lowers the amount of cholesterol your body gets from food you eat. If you canât take statins or have a severe form of high cholesterol, you might get shots of PCSK9 inhibitors. These meds help your liver remove more LDL from your blood.